International Youth Day ~ Youth Engagement in Uganda
Aug 10 2020
On August 12, Asante Africa Foundation will join the international community in marking the International Youth Day (IYD). This year’s theme is “Youth Engagement for Global Action,” which will highlight how youth engagement at the local, national, and global levels is enriching national and global institutions and processes. With new worldwide challenges emerging such as the pandemic and climate change, we need multilateral responses with meaningful engagement and participation of young people.
The aim of IYD2020 is to explore how to increase youth engagement at the local, national, and global institutions by making it more inclusive, thus strengthening and increasing the relevance of these institutions and inspiring global action.
Asante Africa Foundation’s students, trained through the LEI and GAP programs, are already engaged within their communities through income generating projects and social enterprises. The lockdown situation created by the COVID-19 spread, has given many students and alumni opportunities to start new businesses and provide support within their communities and families.
Nabasumba, a student stuck at home during COVID-19 pandemic, realized that she would have to start saving money. She started a food delivery business in her community in Uganda, providing food to the families that are not capable of buying the necessities. Her business helps the vulnerable in her community, and gives financial support for her family. Nabasumba plans to expand her business outside of her community and create a personal brand through social media with the skills she learned at the 2019 LEI Summit.
Additionally, Nabasumba has become a community advocate for girls who have been forced into marriage and those who are dealing with unwanted pregnancies resulting from the constraints placed by the pandemic. In collaboration with the senior women in her village, they offer counseling and guidance to young girls and have convinced many to change their minds about getting married.
Isaac, a 16 year old student in the LEI club in Uganda, decided to take advantage of his community’s surplus of stones and start a stone quarrying business. He purchases large stones and hammers them into smaller concrete stones, which he sells for a profit. With his business, Isaac helps local construction by supplying low-cost stones and inspires fellow youth in his community to start their own businesses.
With his responsibilities at home, including providing for his two siblings and farming for his parents, Isaac plans to transition to a poultry project, which is less time-consuming than his stone quarrying business. Using the management business skills he acquired from the LEI, Isaac is able to fulfill his family’s needs, while inspiring his community.
Night is a 15 year old, LEI student in Uganda. With her business management skills, Night initiated a fuel selling project in her community where she buys jerry cans of petrol and sells them in small half-liter and liter quantities to boda boda riders in her community.
Since there is no petrol station deep in her village, she is simultaneously making fuel more accessible to riders in her community and acquiring basic needs for her family such as food, medication, and clothes. Night’s business continues to grow as she aims to increase her petrol supply in the future.
Brenda, an orphan and a rape victim, finds her strength from her life experiences and wishes to become a nurse. At 13, Brenda was raped and left with an unwanted pregnancy. Despite the stigma of being shamed, she kept going to school. However, Brenda lost her baby soon after her birth. While pregnant, Brenda took her Primary Leaving Examination, which she passed and continued on to secondary school, with support from Counselor Jane who is paying for her school fees.
Drawing on her experience, Brenda advocates against gender violence and counsels other girls on the dangers of teenage pregnancy and the necessity of completing their education. She has also started a poultry business as an income generating project and believes that it has the potential to multiply and provide for her basic necessities.
Asante Africa students and alumni are finding unique ways to cope with the loss of family income and school closings with ingenuity and tenacity. Please, consider helping these young people by donating to our Youth Essentials Package: https://asanteafrica.org/youth-essentials/
Written by Sumathi Ramanath